Doggy detection: Waikato researchers training dogs to sniff out cancer

Author
Newstalk ZB Staff,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 26 September 2017, 10:59AM
A study will attempt to train dog to sniff out lung cancer (Photo: Stockxchang)

Testing labs full of dogs could be the future of lung cancer detection.

Waikato University researchers plan to train six dogs to detect the illness from saliva samples.

Dogs will trigger a light beam if a sample's positive, or push a leaver with their paw if it's negative.

Dr Tim Edwards said the dogs are a cheaper and less-intrusive alternative to current methods of testing.

He said they could make a huge difference in combating lung cancer's high mortality rates.

"There really aren't any mass screening activities happening just to check people in high risk groups if they have lung cancer so they can start treatment early."

More than 1600 New Zealanders die from lung cancer every year and Dr Tim Edwards said there's currently no mass testing for it.

He believes that if his research is successful, the detection dogs could be an affordable solution.

"Samples would be collected from patients all over the country and the samples would be sent back to a central detection facility, the result from the detection dogs would be relayed back to those clinics."

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